Fishing in Canada on a budget...
Canada, a vast wild country and a Mecca for game fishermen from all over the world. Most of who head to the west coast in pursuit of Pacific salmon, steelhead and giant halibut which inhabit the waters of the North Pacific.
Most of these trips are once in a lifetime trips due to the distances and costs involved, however for the knowing angler Canada has a less well publicised gem, the Maritimes.
Nestling on the eastern seaboard the there are some of the most beautiful Atlantic salmon rivers in the world. There are the mighty Cascapedias the Restigouche, the Miramichi all famous rivers but there are also a host of equally good yet less well known rivers.
It was to one of these I headed a few years ago.
I had a call asking if I would like to come and fish the Margaree in Cape Breton in Northern Nova Scotia. I had never heard of the Margaree but after doing some research online thought that this would be a very interesting trip so committed to a week’s fishing.
I soon began to put the trip together and had my trusty credit card to the fore with the intention of spreading the cost over a few months.
Firstly I booked my flights, Edinburgh to London, cheap enough at £70 return. London to Halifax Nova Scotia with Canadian Affair a steal at £320 return. Things were beginning to look up.
Next car hire to get me to Cape Breton a basic 4x4 snapped up for around £160 for the week from Budget.
Motel accommodation was next and that was found for the princely sum of £210 staying right on the river at the Margaree River View Inn.
Sitting back all smug thinking how clever I had been, the whole trip booked for £760, it suddenly dawned on me the main thing had been missed, the cost of the fishing..... Panic ensued as that should have been the first thing researched. A quick call back to my friend in Canada put my mind at ease. An Atlantic Salmon fishing permit for a non –resident would be sourced and all for the sum of £40.
So there we have it, £800 for my fishing trip to the Margaree.
The day to travel duly arrived and off I set full of anticipation. Upon arriving in Halifax and picking up my hire car I headed north on the 4 hour drive to Margaree, passing through some spectacular fall scenery on the way. I met up with Mike in Margaree Forks and he handed over the fishing licence and the four carcass tags explain that I had to carry these on my person. As they evidenced I had not caught the annual kill limit of 4 fish and could fish legitimately.
He then broke the news that the fishing in Nova Scotia is open to all and as such anyone can fish any pool at any time. My heart sank, was this going to be combat fishing?? Was I going to have to queue for hours to get a cast?? He then rubbed salt into the wound by announcing flies had to be tied on single, barbless unweighted hooks. Again he came to my rescue by handing me a myriad of flies dressed as I had never seen flies dressed.
My fears were dumbfounded, in the whole week I only came across an occupied pool three times and with so much water to fish the week was great fun. I got in tow with 3 other like minded wandering souls in the motel and between us we had 52 fish for our week many straight off the tide and several fish 20lb+.
The trip back was a very painful one as Maritime Canada and the Margaree in particular have carved there place in my heart. I promised myself that I would be back soon, a promise I have not kept as yet but writing this piece has prompted me to book for next year and roll on September 2016.
A weeks fishing in Canada in September for much less than the cost of fishing in Scotland at that time of year. Bring it on......